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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Beachwood Mayor

Term: 4 yearsSalary: $155,000Merle S. Gorden, the incumbent, is running for his sixth full term. He has been mayor since 1995, when he was appointed to the position after the resignation of Harvey Friedman. Gorden is running against Councilman Martin S. Horwitz and Board of Education President Mitchel Luxenburg.The mayor is an elected official who serves as the chief executive officer of the City of Beachwood and is recognized as the official and ceremonial head of the city. The mayor oversees all governmental operations, supervises the administration of the city’s affairs, exercises control over all departments, ensures the city remains fiscally responsible, and enforces all rules and regulations. The mayor also serves as the public safety director.
  • Candidate picture

    Merle S. Gordon Mayor/Safety Directory City of Beachwood

  • Candidate picture

    Martin S. Horwitz Attorney

  • Mitchel Luxenburg

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Biographical Information

Why are you running (or running again) for mayor or a seat on City Council?

What do you hope to accomplish while you're mayor or on City Council--for your ward or for your whole city?

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing your community? And, if applicable, your ward?

Age 72
Education Beachwood High School 1964 Ohio State University 1964-1965 Accounting Kent State University 1965-1967 Accounting
Current occupation Mayor/Safety Director City of Beachwood
Qualifications for office 1995 to Present – Mayor and Safety Director for the City of Beachwood, 1994 – 1995 - Beachwood City Council President, 1989 – 1995 Member of Beachwood City Council, 1998 – Present Beachwood Democratic Ward Leader, 1992 – 2000 – Beachwood Democratic Precinct Leader, 1998 – Present – Beachwood Democratic Executive Board Member. I have served on various Beachwood and Cuyahoga County Organizations, Boards and Commissions since 1985. I have been involved in Beachwood’s government for over 30 years. I have the experience and dedication necessary to lead Beachwood’s future Beachwood deserves proven leadership, Beachwood deserves proven results, I have delivered both. When elected I will continue to deliver both for continued success and growth of the community of Beachwood.
Campaign Phone (216) 978-7586
Email address
To continue my vision of the continued growth of excellence for the City of Beachwood through stable economic growth commercial and residential. I want to continue my focus on protecting the solidity of Beachwood’s tax base through business retention and attraction of new businesses with continued government stability. I will continue to strive for strong security programs with the local school systems, businesses and religious organizations. I will work on development of programs promoting aging in place and enhance our sense of community.
Continued transparency and support community involvement. To develop a partnership with city government and community. Continued solidity of Beachwood’s tax base through business retention and attraction of new businesses with government stability
It is an extraordinary honor to serve the citizens of Beachwood and to have the good fortune to lead the Beachwood community. I am grateful every day for the opportunity to be Mayor of the greatest community in the state of Ohio. Every day I take on my duties with my sole goal being the continued improvement of Beachwood.

Beachwood has come a long way and now stands as a premier community in Northeast Ohio. That status must be protected, and cannot be put at risk. The current state of Beachwood is strong and this is no accident; it is the result of much hard work, careful planning, and the skills and experience of myself and my administration. Together we have:

• Attracted businesses that have invested more than $800 million in capital improvements. Home to over 2500 businesses with 25,000 employees. Resulting in low taxes; • Award winning services and facilities that are the envy of the region – Since serving as the Mayor, nearly $100 million has been invested in capital improvements. • Under construction a new Safety Center, housing a secured State-of the Art police and fire dispatch facility; • Excellent Fiscal Health – with a continued Triple A bond rating. 3rd lowest property tax rate in Cuyahoga County (City to City). Unmodified Audit opinion from State Auditor for 2016. The best opinion a city can receive.

While we need to protect what has been built in recent years, Beachwood’s future must also be protected, with continued economic growth, A Master Facili
Age 64
Education • M.Ed., Educational Technology Leadership, The George Washington University, 2002 • J.D., The University of Akron, 1978 • B.A., Political Science, University of Cincinnati, 1975
Current occupation Martin S. Horwitz, Attorney at Law Sole Practitioner, OSBA Board Certified Workers' Compensation Specialist
Qualifications for office Member, Beachwood City Council, 2012--present (Current Council President) Member, Beachwood Board of Education, 1990-- 2005 (4 terms as President) And member or officer of many Beachwood civic groups for over 30 years.
Campaign Phone (216) 403-6868
Email address
I’ve lived in Beachwood for over 50 years. I know this City. I understand how to bring the best to an organization through innovation, collaboration, and best practices. I did this for 16 years as a Member and four-term President of the Beachwood Board of Education. We were nationally and locally recognized as a #1 school district.

We have a new, younger Council. In the past two years as Council President, I’ve organized our Council and set our goals so that we can proudly say we have worked on or passed legislation on over 20 issues to better serve our residents and businesses. This approach has not been done before. Under my leadership, we’ve created real savings, improved safety and services, promoted economic development, and brought transparency to our government. The attached list details many of these accomplishments, including adopting a Master Plan, broadcasting our meetings, increasing police staffing, bringing jobs inhouse to save money, putting our checkbook online and creating new opportunities for residents to participate through committees. I feel it’s time to change leadership to reflect our changing Council, changing directors, and the changing needs of our community. I have a vision for the future of our community, a history of trusted, innovative leadership, and the experience to deliver results.
There are three areas that I would like to focus on. The first is planned economic development. Our strong business tax base is the engine that allows us to provide outstanding City services. We first need to hire a professional Economic Development Director. This position has been vacant for seven months since our last Director retired, and the current Mayor has yet to present a candidate to Council. We need to redevelop Commerce Park which is now over 30 years old and tie it into the Chagrin Highlands area. We need to create Community Reinvestment Areas and a Community Improvement Corporation to drive further planned growth throughout the City. We should be looking at more mixed used projects. Our City houses facilities from University Hospitals, the Cleveland Clinic and Metro General along with many senior living facilities and Alzheimer units. We should be a prime location for allied healthcare and biotech research and development companies. We need to actively work on retaining the businesses that currently make Beachwood their home. And we need to work with our neighbors on regional development plans, something particularly lacking under the current administration.

My second area of focus is safety. While we have about 12,000 residents who live in our City, we protect over 100,000 people every day who work or shop in Beachwood, come to appointments at our medical facilities, or travel between our th
Many of our challenges are reflected above as issues I would like to address as Mayor. We already are a premier city in Ohio with tremendous resources and the ability to offer a very broad range of services to our residents. But we have much farther to go. We need to find ways to keep our revenues high and our taxes low. This comes from planned economic development and the retention of businesses now in place. This is always our biggest challenge. In addition, we need to address: • the changing needs of residents • the future of Beachwood Place; • traffic congestion, • continued collaboration with our schools; • improving public spaces, • and celebrating our diversity. The groundwork I’ve laid as Council President and my strong relationships with our Directors will spur progress in all of these areas and more.
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